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Jerome "Jay" Apt

Professor Emeritus | Carnegie Mellon University


Jay Apt is an emeritus professor at the Tepper School of Business and in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy.


Jay Apt is an emeritus professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and in the CMU Department of Engineering and Public Policy. He has authored more than 120 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as two books and several book chapters. He has published opinion pieces in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Apt received an A.B. in physics from Harvard College in 1971 and a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a member of the Electric Power Research Institute Board of Directors from 2007 through 2013. He received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the Metcalf Lifetime Achievement Award for significant contributions to engineering.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Public Policy



Risk Analysis


Media Appearances (5)

U.S. natural gas pipelines vulnerable to electric outages

CMU Engineering  online

“In contrast to well-established reliability reporting and standards for the electrical system, the gas system has almost no reliability transparency or oversight,” says study co-author Jay Apt, an emeritus professor of engineering and public policy and business. “Establishing a federal gas reliability organization, comparable to what is now done for electric power, could improve gas reliability by establishing appropriate reliability reporting, incident investigation, and minimum industry standards.”

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An urgent plan to decarbonize electricity by 2035

The Hill  online


We applaud the Biden administration’s goal of completely decarbonizing the U.S. electricity system by 2035. Achieving that, while keeping power affordable and reliable, will be an enormous but feasible undertaking requiring a continuous push for the next 14 years.

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The House That Launched an Astronaut’s Career

The Wall Street Journal  online


EPP’s Jay Apt was interviewed for a story in The Wall Street Journal featuring his family’s historic home in Pittsburgh, which is on the market for the first time since it was built for his family in the 1950s.

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‘The Current War: Director’s Cut’ shows how the electric power system we take for granted came to be

The Conversation  online


Many experts view the electric power grid as the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century. But if Thomas Edison, inventor of the first commercial power plant, had had his way, the modern grid would not have been built. Instead the U.S. would have been powered by numerous coal-burning power plants, spaced a mile or so apart, with no electricity at all in rural areas.

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Microbursts in Cleveland Heights unexplainable, but power outages are on the rise

Cleveland.com  online


It’s impossible to completely make a power grid impervious to severe storm damage, Carnegie Mellon University professor Jay Apt said. “It is simply not possible to ensure that the power grid can withstand any weather event,” Apt said. “You can make things pretty good, but making them invulnerable is a fool’s errand."

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Jerome Jerome



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Electric and Gas Reliability: Insights From Actual Data | Jay Apt | Energy Seminar Jay Apt: Improving the Global Power Industry


Industry Expertise (5)

Public Policy

Writing and Editing




Accomplishments (2)

Metcalf Lifetime Achievement Award (professional)


NASA Distinguished Service Medal (professional)


Education (2)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Ph.D., Experimental Atomic Physics 1976

Harvard College: B.A., Physics 1971

Affiliations (4)

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science : Fellow
  • Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making
  • Electricity Industry Center
  • Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation

Articles (5)

Inverter fast frequency response is a low-cost alternative to system inertia

Electric Power Systems Research

2023 Electric grids with high penetrations of utility-scale inverter-based resources (IBRs), such as wind, solar, and batteries, often have lower system inertia and need frequency support. One response is to keep traditional synchronous generators online to maintain adequate system inertia, which may reduce the number of IBRs on the system, increasing system emissions.

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How vulnerable are US natural gas pipelines to electric outages?

The Electricity Journal

2023 Gas-electric interdependencies have contributed to several major electric system emergencies. Natural gas pipelines use both gas-powered and electric-powered compressor units; power outages at the latter can cause gas shortages. We make the first rigorous identification of the number of US electric compressor stations, finding that 10% are electric.

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Making Electric Power More Resilient

Interdisciplinary Research on Climate and Energy Decision Making

2022 Large electric power outages of long duration are more common than one might expect. This chapter discusses the causes of such outages – including outages resulting from extreme events made worse by climate change, such as heat, cold, and tropical cyclones. It describes the pioneering work we did with a huge database of all the generator failures in the largest portion of the U.S. grid, showing that, contrary to the assumption that grid operators make, that failures will be random, when they calculate how many reserve generators must be online, many generators have failed all at once during hot or cold weather.

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Energy from the Wind and the Sun

Interdisciplinary Research on Climate and Energy Decision Making

2022 This chapter describes extensive work by Jay Apt and colleagues on the variable nature of wind and solar energy resources, including power spectral analysis (explained in lay terms), and work on the extent to which combining generation from physically distributed locations can smooth and improve the reliability from wind or solar generated electricity. This work gave rise to the Variable Renewable Energy and the Electricity Grid (RFF/Routledge, 2014).

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Using PV inverters for voltage support at night can lower grid costs

Energy Reports

2022 Areas with sparse transmission lines are common in regions with high solar energy potential and need voltage support. This may require installing expensive voltage compensators, such as static synchronous compensators (STATCOMs). This expense can increase the cost and decrease the acceptance of large-scale adoption of solar power. Unlike current photovoltaic (PV) inverter controllers, which provide voltage support only during the day, commercially available augmented voltage controllers can provide voltage support at night.

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